Days after Sussex Police warned people to be aware of coronavirus scams, the force had to recall thousands of face masks with potentially fraudulent safety certificates.
The matter was raised at a meeting of councillors and community leaders in Brighton and Hove last week when a senior officer was asked about the situation.
Brighton and Hove police commander Nick May was asked about “an issue with sub-standard PPE” (personal protective equipment).
Chief Superintendent May said: “There has been an issue with a particular type of mask that went out and was then withdrawn.
“It has been very challenging and other public services have had to work really to acquire PPE.”
But, he added, the force had appropriate equipment to help keep police, staff and the public safe.
The sub-standard kit was flagged up in an email from Superintendent Graham Barnett who said: “The Operation Apollo logistics team identified that a consignment of FFP2 (marked KS95) masks received in recent days may have issues with their certificates of conformity which are suspected to be fraudulent or invalid.
“As we cannot verify the level of protection these products can provide, we have decided that for your safety they will be withdrawn while an investigation takes place.”
Sussex Police and Surrey Police jointly ordered about 10,000 face masks and about 2,700 had been sent out to police stations to be issued to officers and staff.
According to the Daily Mail, Sussex Police said: “There are currently investigations ongoing into these counterfeit orders and so we cannot go into further details at this time.”
The Mail said: “Although the kit was not intended to offer the highest level of protection, it was supposed to afford some degree of reassurance for officers attending sudden deaths, medical incidents where officers may need to carry out CPR and when dealing with suspects who are non-compliant.”
The newspaper quoted a “force insider” as saying: “So much for watching out for con artists.”
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